Two: Impressions

The sets were huge.  Amy could tell immediately that the movie must have been on the scale of Gone With the Wind or Titanic.  Several lots specifically set aside for special effects had hinted at that.  When she’d received a copy of the shooting schedule, she’d seen even more proof.  Special effects and cinematics were going to carry the movie.

Amy stopped and turned a full circle as she took in the sights of cables, lights, scaffolds, cameras, people, sets, and so many other things.  “Oh my,” she whispered under her breath.  And she felt that was an understatement.

“This is Mark.  He will be playing the role of ‘Cloud’.  You’ll be doing most of your scenes with him.”

Amy flushed and hurried to catch up with the director.  She came up to a man with blonde hair, blue eyes, and an athletic build.  She smiled and extended a hand.  “How do you do?  My name’s Amy Burke.  Nice to meet you.”

“Mark Frasier.  Hi.”  He looked to the director.  “And we’ve got to do something about that name.  ‘Cloud’?  You’ve got to be shitting me.”

The director ignored him.  “You’ll meet ‘Tifa’ later.  Her role will be played by Vanessa Heron.”

Amy’s eyes widened as she looked to the director.  The Vanessa Heron?  From Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables?”

Mark chuckled and put a fist on his hip.  “Hey.  Where’s my wide-eyed look of wonder?”

The director laughed.  “You think your action flicks’ll rate you one of those?”  The director shook his head.  “Come on, Miss Burke-- Oh, never mind.  Here comes Harrison.”

Amy turned.  Sir Garret Harrison’s stunning good looks were hardened with an intense expression, and his blue eyes were angry and annoyed.

“Is he always in a bad mood?” Mark asked.

“Only recently,” the director muttered.  “A woman.”


Amy took a slight step forward.  “Good morning, sir,” she said with a genuine smile.

Mr. Harrison halted and faced Amy.  “Miss Burke, it isn’t necessary for you to bow, scrape, and smile.  You have the role.  Now do your best in the performance of it.”

Amy’s smile vanished as she blinked in shock.  Before she could say anything, Mr. Harrison moved forward to stand opposite Mark and the director.  “Where is Vanessa?”

“She had issues with her wardrobe and went to take it up with--”

“Blast,” he hissed.  “Am I to be surrounded by amateurs and infantile prima donna’s?”

The director’s face hardened.  “Harrison, don’t be a damn ass.  We’ve got a hell of a good cast here, even with your questionable contribution of Miss Burke.  The last thing we need is your attitude.  Suck it up.”

Mr. Harrison said nothing in response to that.  He only turned and addressed Mark and Amy.  “As you may or may not realize, my name is Garret Harrison.  I am both the Executive Producer and the character named Sephiroth.  I do not answer to ‘Lord’, ‘Sir Harrison’, ‘dude’, ‘boss-man’, or any variations of the kind.  You will either call me ‘sir’ or ‘Garret’ or ‘Mr. Harrison’ or simply ‘Harrison’.”  He sent Amy and Mark both an intense frown.  “I have certain expectations of my cast and crew, and they are as follows: 1) No parties on days of or days before your scenes are scheduled to shoot; 2) No fraternizing outside rehearsals of scenes; 3) No drugs, alcohol, or other substances allowed on premises or near your person during the shooting schedule.  If you are even suspected, you will be dismissed and a replacement found; 4) No tardy arrivals and no missed days.  If you are scheduled, you are here; 5) Scripts will be memorized when shooting commences.  Understood?  Good.  Then we will see you bright and early in two weeks.”

He turned to go.  Amy followed after him.  “Mr. Harrison?”

Mr. Harrison sent an annoyed frown her direction.  “What is it?”

“I hoped I could meet with you regarding my role.”

He halted and fully faced her.  “The interpretation of the role, Miss Burke, is your responsibility.”

Amy nodded.  “I realize that, but you’ve so much more experience on stage.  I hoped you could let me know if what I’m wanting to portray is coming across.”

He regarded her with what Amy could only call suspicion.  Before she had a chance to say anything, he ‘put her in her place’.  “Miss Burke, as I told you before, I will not tolerate obvious attempts to gain my favor.  They only irritate me.”

“I’m not,” Amy protested.

But he’d turned to stride from the building.  Amy frowned and put her hands on her hips.  Then she smiled and gave a shake of her head.  I suppose it did come across a little more pathetic than I wanted.  I’ll have to work on that.  And Amy decided to consider their conversation Lesson number one.

“Miss Burke?  Shall we?”

Amy turned back to the two men and sent them an apologetic smile as she approached.  “I’m sorry.”  She motioned over her shoulder.  “I suppose I deserved that.  I always come across as a brown-noser.  I don’t mean to.”

Mark laughed as he and the director walked on either side of Amy.  The director sent Amy a reassuring smile, brief as it was.  “If you have any questions about anything, Miss Burke, I would suggest you don’t go to Mr. Harrison directly.  He doesn’t have the patience.”

Mark gave her arm a nudge.  Amy changed her focus to the young man with the pretty blue eyes.  “I’ll help with your lines and stuff.  I’ve been in loads of movies.”

“Mark,” the director warned.

“Thank you,” Amy told him, “but I’m sure I’ll be okay.”

Mark shrugged with a slight smirk as he looked away.  “Just wanted to help.”

The director scoffed.  Amy hid a smile with a clearing of her throat.  “And I appreciate it,” she said, serious enough to be truthful.  “But I think I’ve been in enough off-Broadway performances to get the job done well enough.”

“Off-Broadway, huh?” Mark asked as he examined her profile.  “Hmm.  I did commercials for condoms and cereal before landing my first big break.”

Amy laughed.  “What a combination!”

Mark chuckled.  “Yeah.  Tell me about it.”  He glanced back over at her.  “This is supposed to be one of the best movies of the year.  What are you going to do with your fame and fortune?”

Amy continued to smile.  “Fame and fortune is overrated.  I’m going to go back home.”

Mark raised an eyebrow.  “And do what?”

“Teach drama at the local highschool.”

“Hmm.  Sounds… fun.”

Amy chuckled.  “For me, yes.  For you?  Not so much.”

Mark smiled.  “I think you and me are going to get along great, Amy.”

The director rolled his eyes.  “Since when did you and a skirt not get along great?”

Amy laughed.  Mark smirked.  The director shook his head.


Amy adjusted her hold on the bulky script as she attempted to turn the page.  She looked at her watch in between juggles and moaned.  The bus was late.  I’m going to miss the transfer, and then I’ll have to walk.  Amy sighed with a slight shrug of her shoulders.  Oh well.  More time to read and study.  She didn’t have that many lines to memorize, but there was one scene that had her very nervous.

There was a honk.  Amy looked up.  “Hi, Mark,” she said with a slight smile.

“So you’re what a public trans person looks like,” he said with a charming smile as he draped his arm across the back of the Corvette seat.  “I always wondered.”

Amy’s lips twitched.  “Nothing glamorous, I hate to say.  Just normal people who don’t like hassling with traffic.”

“But that’s the best part.”

Amy chuckled.  “Help yourself.”

Mark’s lips lifted upward in a slight smirk.  “So can I offer you a ride?”

“That’s all right.”  She lifted up the script.  “I’m using the time to study.”

Mark laughed.  “You are a brown-noser, aren’t you?”

“No.  I just like knowing my lines before hand.  A good habit, I say.”

“I wouldn’t know anything about good habits.”  Mark checked the traffic in his rearview mirror.  “Are you sure you don’t want a ride?  One last chance.”

“Positive.  Thanks for asking, but I’ll take the bus.”

“Suit yourself.  See ya later.”  He gave a wave moments before peeling away.

Amy changed her focus back to the script.  She stopped reading when a shadow fell over the words.  “You’re blocking my light.”

The shadow moved.  “Miss Burke, what are you doing?”

Amy blinked and looked up.  She smiled.  “Hello, Mr. Harrison.”  He didn’t return the greeting, and the stern expression on his aristocratic face didn’t lessen.  Amy let it slide without a feather ruffled.  Instead, she gestured to the post that said ‘bus stop’.  “I’m studying while waiting for my ride.”  Amy motioned to the space on the bench beside her.  “There’s plenty of room if you care to have a seat.”

“No.  Thank you.”  He studied her.  Amy didn’t look away.  “Do you not have an auto?”

“Oh sure I do,” she said as she closed the script.  “I just don’t like fighting with traffic and getting yelled at and cursed at and flipped off.”  Amy shook her head with a continual smile.  “Too much stress in daily life as it is.  I take the bus and use the time to read, or write letters to my family, or just enjoy the peace.”

“I see.”  Mr. Harrison looked away as he adjusted his beige, calf-hide trenchcoat over his arm.  A moment later an attendant of the studios drove up in a crème-colored antique roadster.

Amy whistled.  “Lovely.  I bet she drives wonderfully smooth.”

“I seldom have the opportunity to drive her beyond 10 miles per hour, but she handles nicely enough.”

Amy arched an eyebrow at the surprisingly civil conversation they shared.  She decided to continue as much as possible.  “My dad had one similar, but I think his was American.  Yours is English, right?”

Mr. Harrison raised his gaze from his trenchcoat and moved it to hers.  “Correct.”

Amy nodded.  “A lot of difference.  American roadsters have their pluses, but those English ones…”  Amy shook her head.  “Pieces of art.”

Mr. Harrison’s eyebrow twitched as he accepted the keys from the attendant.  “Thank you.”  He changed his attention back to Amy, regarding her as he seemed to debate with himself a possibility.

Amy changed her gaze to her lap and opened her script again, not wanting him to feel obligated when she would have been happy either riding the bus or in his lovely roadster.  “Have fun on your drive, Mr. Harrison.  Hopefully traffic isn’t too bad.”

He remained silent for a moment more before moving toward his roadster with a civil “Good day, Miss Burke.”

Amy watched him out of the corner of her eye until he drove away.  Then she lifted her head with a slight smile as she watched the car fade into the traffic.  “Good day, Mr. Harrison.”


Chapter 3

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic